Is Google Project Fi a dead end?
October 5, 2017 2:07 PM   Subscribe

Seems like if there is such a limited number of phones that work with it, and the trend is seemingly to fewer phones, it may not have much a future? I am considering switching to it, as I like the billing model, but if it's not going to have much a lifespan it may not be worth the hassle.
posted by mzurer to Technology (15 answers total)
There's no contract term (or at least no cancellation fee), so as long as it works for you for now, it seems like a good option. If you need to change paths later, that's not easier than doing it now.
posted by brainmouse at 2:12 PM on October 5

I don't think the limited number of compatible phones is indicative of it being on life support... it's indicative of Google seizing this opportunity to sell more of the phones made by/for them specifically. Fortunately, their phones are pretty good.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:13 PM on October 5

I'm not sure what you mean about fewer fi has always allowed very few phones (they launched with just one), so there's been no change there.
posted by mosst at 2:15 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]

It looks like Google is very interested in making phones. Any phone Goole makes will almost certainly support Fi.
posted by gregr at 2:15 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]

Been using it for a couple of months with mixed results. But, after a round of tech support bogosity the past couple of days where the Goog didn't know what country I am in and can't seem to get me off 3g and back to LTE I'm a little unhappy. But to your point of longevity, they don't monitor their twitter account (so that is a weak signal), I got escalated through a couple layers of tech support oh so very rapidly (overstaffed/underused?) No contract so as long as you don't mind your number decaying to some web only thing at some point , use it while it works? The plan is good for me for now and that is about all we can expect these days.
posted by Gotanda at 2:19 PM on October 5

And as DirtyOldTown said, the Pixel is a nice phone.
posted by Gotanda at 2:19 PM on October 5

If you don't think that Fi will hold up, Republic Wireless does the same thing & has been around for quite a while.
posted by Dmenet at 2:26 PM on October 5 [2 favorites]

Although you do need a Nexus/Pixel phone to activate your Fi account, once it's activated, you can stick the voice SIM in any other unlocked phone and it will work so long as that phone can access T-Mobile (and maybe Sprint?). You won't get the cool network switching features, but, hey, you can use an iPhone with Fi this way. I did this and ordered a free data-only sim for my Nexus 6, since usually I only need the network switching so I can keep mobile data on the highway for turn-by-turns. Never talk on the phone, never really leave T-Mobile coverage.

I have no idea whether they're going to just put an end to Fi one day or keep it going for years to come. I hope they give a decent amount of warning if they do twilight it. But Google seems to keep this kind of stuff under wraps.
posted by dis_integration at 2:27 PM on October 5

They enhanced their family plan recently, not sure whether to read that as encouraging.

I have Fi, and the cost of the new phone was paid off via cheaper bills after about ten months, maybe doing that math will help you decide? I've been pleased, but I'm a pretty basic user. I was annoyed that I had to give up my GVoice number to switch to Fi.
posted by momus_window at 3:02 PM on October 5

They'll almost certainly provide at least a month or two of notice if they decide to drop Fi, which provides more than enough time to port your number to someone else. The Fi phones will work on most US networks (Even Verizon, if you can convince them to activate it!), so you shouldn't have any need to buy a new one in the event that they do kill it.

I doubt they will kill it any time in the next couple of years, though. They tend to abandon things for a while before deciding to drop them entirely. Ironically, everyone thought Google Voice was going away after it sat in seeming stasis for years, but now it's an integral part of Fi.

I can't use them, though, since I have an ongoing beef with T-Mobile. It made me happy that they were one of the first carriers to blacklist stolen phones, but they also used it to screw with the market for used phones.
posted by wierdo at 3:03 PM on October 5

the trend is seemingly to fewer phones

The trend is actually towards more phones, as they're now supporting their first non-Google controlled phone (the Motorola X4). They do tricksy things with the network switching and probably the VOIP (you can seemlessly jump from WiFi to the cell network while on a call) that's not part of standard builds.

If you like using a Google Nexus/Pixel and don't use a lot of data, it's a great deal.
posted by Candleman at 4:57 PM on October 5

I’m a happy customer but if you don’t need international 4g on the reg T-mobile is cheaper.
posted by JPD at 5:36 PM on October 5

I've been using Fi almost since Google came out with it (back when it was only the Nexus 6 as the phone). There are more phones now than ever, and since Google is controlling all the phones (and making most of them), it's a good deal if you're all in on Google. The straightforwardness of the billing is what's keeping me with them, even if I could pay a little more and get "unlimited" data.
posted by deezil at 5:36 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]

I've been a Fi user since very early days, having used it with nexus 5x and 6p and am very satisfied. My wife switched to it from T-mobile and is also very happy. I travel internationally often and it's always worked- most recently in South Africa- and the data charges are the same wherever. If you like the google ecosystem and use their phones, this is the best way to do it.
posted by eusebis_w_adorno at 9:42 PM on October 5

My husband and I both use Fi. I find it great, my monthly bill is usually $25. With Ting, which I did also like, it was closer to $40 a month. I find it crazy that anyone pays high monthly rates for a cell. I've never felt like it was precarious as a service, but that's just an impression.
posted by mirabelle at 12:33 PM on October 6

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